This weeks photo challenge is minimalist architecture and it is a task for me. As a landscape photographer first, I found that finding just a tiny portion of one building and have it look meaningful was a nightmare. So I'm going to lay out some of the issues I have had and how I overcame them.
I had trouble at first incorporating too much. The image above is a fine example of too much, combined with a terrible edit and YIKES!. Every possible angle and every lens but the right one. I went home most days and sat around wondering what I was doing wrong. I decided in order to simplify my image I needed a refresher on simple subjects first. It turned out a weeks worth of in tight floral photography started to help. The next week I was back out looking at buildings and I found the one you see below.
I walked around the exterior of this building for about an hour trying to find the right area that had straight lines and could match the the sky in a pattern of triangles. It was close, but still not quite the minimalist look I was after. I did come away with a couple new pieces of information. On the previous trips to shoot I was using too short of a focal length. Tip one, make sure your focal length is long enough to eliminate distractions. I was using a cropped sensor at the time, shooting on a 55 mm lens, full frame equivalent of 88 mm.
I needed a slightly different approach. Instead of walking around downtown, I scouted online first, I looked for each building with a glass exterior in my city. Now, fortunately for me, downtown Fort Worth isn't all that large, so I had only a few choices. I made an adjustment to my camera settings as well. Previously I have been trying to shoot with an F stop of 2.8-5.6 but I was losing too much detail further into the frame.
On my next trip out I planned a composition in advance. Reflections, with at least one third of the frame being absolutely empty. I figured if I started with at least one third of the frame having nothing in it I would increase my chances of really having a minimalist capture. The image below is what I came away with.
This was my jumping off point, finally, into minimalist architecture photography. Let's run through a list of items that are going to help you the most.
Longer focal lengths to remove clutter
F stop of 7-14 for clean lines
a tripod to remove any potential camera shake (of a fast shutter speed)
Scout ahead to find a subject if this is your first try
Clear understanding of the weather conditions. A single cloud can make for an amazing compliment to your image but a bright blue sky can be just as complimentary.
I am attaching a website below. These are some of my favorite shots I have seen in quite sometime and might give you an added bit of inspiration.
Feel free to tag me or message me your images on Instagram @steve_riella for a chance to be featured.